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Beyond the Cleavage by Raquel Welch Books in Review
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Beyond the Cleavage
by Raquel Welch
Weinstein Books
ISBN 978-1-60286-097-1
Published April 2010 - Hardcover - 273 pages - $26.95

I've often wondered what happened to this exceptionally beautiful woman over the years.  Very occasionally you'll hear mention of her name, but it would seem she's a very private person, and by all accounts, still an exceptionally beautiful woman at the age of 69!  Her book is "part biographical, part personal philosophy, and full of practical advice for women of all ages."  Don't despair if you don't have good genes — Raquel Welch is an impossible goal!  From that famous movie poster of Ms. Welch clad in a skin bikini, life was never the same, and neither were our perceptions of this striking woman.  (She'd had two children when that picture was taken, and this was back in the sixties!)  Growing up in the 50s wasn't as repressive as one would think (think Elvis, Marilyn, Brando, James Dean — repressive?), and at least there were values and self-respect which is sadly lacking these days.  Her story relates the fear of her father, her lovely hardworking mother, coming to terms with her body and good looks, her first love, beauty pageants, her two children, and the breakup of her marriage as well as her breakthrough into movies.  Feminism was just around the corner, and being a sex symbol and not understood, as Ms. Welch says, "They dismissed me as nothing more than a sex object.  It felt like a slap, until I realized that official feminism had a political agenda that is not inclusive of all women.  It's only for those who fit a criterion, which does not include a bikini."  She had a strong mind and a strong will.  In her chapter The Art of Being a Woman, there is much valuable information on actually being a woman, which I'm sad has lapsed as too many girls and women nowadays find it easier to act like men (talk crudely, are loud, talk about personal stuff in public, sleep around, etc.), and which I sorely wish wasn't the case.  I wish morals would make a comeback.  Thankfully Ms. Welch's book is not preachy; it's a personal look at her life, how she grew up and coped with the double standards most women dealt with, and it is very encouraging for lost or confused young women today.  She also talks about aging in Hollywood (and in general), good health, menopause (HRT), hormones, bioidentical hormones, yoga (fascinating), skin and hair care, make-up (personally, I found this much too time-consuming and intricate — most of us don't need all that primping and coloring in), marriage and divorce, relationships, family, sex, and surviving feminism.
Conclusion - Like a health manual for women (digest and learn about your body as we're not being taught how to eat healthily and what's what in our bodies) plus an insight into Raquel Welch's private life.  Extremely helpful information throughout.

book cover

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